Affordable Festivals, Shows and Theater for End of Summer

From Arts in Nature to Caspar Babypants everywhere, eclectic, artsy fun

Published on: August 14, 2015

Arts in Nature festival, Camp Long

No room in the budget for big end-of-summer splurges this August (like Bumbershoot)? Same for us, so we found a few upcoming festivals, shows and concerts that are family-friendly, funtastic and affordable. (Did we miss something? Email me at and check our calendar listings for many more end-of-summer events.)

Arts in Nature festival, Aug. 22–23, Camp Long, West Seattle

This eclectic festival returns this year to wild, wonderful Camp Long, with a full weekend of family-friendly arts, from sound and art installations, workshops (ropes course, haiku), nature experiences (meet and learn about wild birds) and loads of performances in four different venues. The line-up includes indie rock, world music, classical, jazz, bluegrass and folk, as well as dance, theater and literary performances. "Performances are designed to be intimate and acoustic, so every seat is the front row," say promoters. Families will also love the square dances and food trucks (Full Tilt and more).

Tickets: $10/day; $16/weekend pass.

Teen Summer Musical Extravaganza

Teen Summer Musical extravaganza, Aug. 20–23, Seattle Repertory Theatre

Kids love to see other kids acting and singing, and this late-summer production by youth involved in the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute's summer program stars 80 kids from 7 to 18 years old. The show is Snow White and the Seven: “Each One, Teach One,” a version of the classic fairy tale that follows the journey of an African-American girl who is determined to make a connection with her traditional heritage. The play was written and directed by Isaiah Anderson, Jr., of Seattle Parks and Recreation, with music by Seattle singer/songwriter Michelle Lang.

Tickets: $8 for youth (12 and under) and $10 for adults. There are seven performances: Aug. 20-22: shows daily at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Aug. 23: one show at 3 p.m.

Sand in the City. Courtesy Hands On Children's Museum

Sand in the City, Aug. 22–23, Olympia

Art and sandy outdoor fun — not music — is the focus of this annual festival around Hands On Children's Museum in Olympia's East Bay. The heart of the festival is an amazing sand sculpting exhibition (with entries by pros and community groups and individuals), dozens of free art and STEM activities for kids and live entertainment. Kids can also dig away in giant sand boxes, blow giant bubbles, climb a rock wall and wade in the awesome 250-foot interactive stream outside of Hands On.

Tickets: Outdoor activities free; discounted museum admission available.

Courtesy Caspar Babypants website

Bloedel Reserve, Out(side)rageous Family Day, Aug. 22, Seattle

Bloedel Reserve, a stunning 150-acre landscape of woodlands and gardens on Bainbridge Island, is always worth a visit. But this family-day event starring a double bill of Recess Monkey and Caspar Babypants, makes it irresistible for families with young kids. Bring a picnic lunch and hang out and sing. Caspar plays at 11 a.m.; Recess Monkey at noon. There will also be activities across the grounds led by the likes of Islandwood, KiDiMu, B.I.M.A., West Sound Wildlife Shelter, and the Boys & Girls Club of Bainbridge Island. Festival is from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Tickets: Kids are free; parents $10 a person.

Caspar Babypants: everywhere

The beloved kindie rock star has taken a break for most of the summer but he's back in full force performing a number of (mostly free) outdoor concerts at the end of August. Find the full schedule of free concerts on his website but key dates to remember include Aug. 18 (Juanita Beach), Aug. 19 (University Village), Aug. 21 (Magnuson Park) and Aug. 27 (Hiawatha Park).  (He also plays the family bash at Bloedel Reserve on a double bill with Recess Monkey on Aug. 22; see above.)

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